Prime Minister chairs meeting on access to European markets

Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani chaired a meeting regarding the access to European Markets at PM’s House here today which was attended by Minister for Commerce, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Advisor on Finance, Dr. Abudl Hafeez Shaikh, Senior officials of the Ministries of Commerce, Textiles, Foreign Affairs and representatives of private sector.

The Secretary Commerce informed the meeting that the WTO has approved European Package of 75 items on February 14. The Secretary informed that now after the approval of the EU Parliament these items would be exported to European Markets without any duty w.e.f from 1st January, 2012.

The Secretary said that the over and above impact on Pakistan’s export would be around 450 million dollars to the European Union. He further said that in the GSP Plus, the European Union changed criteria to the advantage of Pakistan that could be attributed to the hectic efforts of the government’s functionaries under the guidance of the Prime Minister.

It was decided in the meeting that the Prime Minister would preside over the meeting of Envoy’s Conference belonging to European Union during his forthcoming visit to UK to appreciate the support of EU. The Secretary Ministry of Commerce also informed the meeting that EFTA, countries out of European Union, like Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Monaco and Switzerland have also indicated their willingness to initiate dialogue on the trade agreement with Pakistan.

The dialogue is expected to be held in April this year and if concluded it will further boost Pakistan’s exports in these countries, the Secretary maintained. The representatives of private sector called upon the government to take immediate action for the uninterrupted supply of energy to the export industry in order to fully capitalize the expected tariff concessions from the EU and EFTA countries.

The Prime Minister said that the government had addressed the circular debt issue to a large extent which would lead to the thermal generation of electricity to its maximum capacity improving the supply considerably. He said that he had already held a meeting with the representatives of APTMA today who suggested some out of box solutions to overcome energy shortage in the country.

The Prime Minister said that the UK Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, had also appreciated the normalization of trade links between Pakistan and India. The Minister for Commerce, Makhdoom Amin Fahim said that the Cabinet decision regarding the trade normalization with India has been widely appreciated inside and outside the country.

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Haji Ahmed Malik
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